Stanford headed back to Houston

June 23, 2009 3:28:24 AM PDT
The last time we saw Houston billionaire R. Allen Stanford, he was in a Virginia courtroom facing charges for his alleged connection to a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. The next time we see him, he'll be in Houston. Stanford is on his way back to Houston, but not in his private jet. He is reportedly spending Monday night in Oklahoma City, courtesy of the U.S. Marshals who are transporting him from Virginia.

Tuesday morning's faceoff in federal court sets in motion the government's case against Houston financier R. Allen Stanford, who's now facing 21 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction.

"It's the initial phase of the case where each side gets an opportunity to tell the public, to tell Houston, to tell the country, why one side is going to win and why one side is going to lose," said KTRK's Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

Androphy said what happens next to Stanford depends on what U.S. prosecutors have to say. During Tuesday's hearing, the government will have to prove he's a danger to the community and a flight risk in order to keep him detained.

"He knew this was coming. If he wanted to leave, he would have left. Is he going to leave now that he's been indicted? The chances are even less," said Androphy.

Stanford is accused of running $7 billion Ponzi scheme, convincing investors to buy his supposed safe certificates of deposit from his bank in Antigua with promised returns that were too good to be true.

He was arrested on Friday in Virginia, along with six other major players in his financial empire.

"Could he get a fair trial in Houston? I suspect at this juncture, Stanford can," said Androphy. "Because his publicity hasn't been like Enron."

Androphy believes the big fight Tuesday will be over a possible bond for Stanford.

Stanford could face up to 250 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

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